In college, sleep was a vital part of my daily routine. However, it wasn’t getting to bed I was worried about; it was having to get out of it.
At 33, sleep has once again become matter of importance, which is totally, utterly lame. Whereas in my yesteryears, I could hit the snooze button 17 times and immediately fall back under without each “ehhhh ehhhh ehhhh” rattling my core, now I’m up with the sun. I’m wired like some mid-century farmer, my body ready to plow the fields of daily bullshit and my brain programmed to tackle the mundane tasks that await outside my door.
While I’m blessed to have no problem falling asleep, nor do I have anxiety about falling asleep (phew), I am more aware that I can’t get away with seven drinks and three hours of shuteye and pull myself together to type something reasonable on the page the next morning. And this is annoying for two reasons:
1. The odds of miraculously triumphing over a hangover are not as good as they as used to be. No amount Vitamin Water, Excedrin and Breakfast Jack meal deals will keep me functional without the natural goodness of sleep.
2. Now I care. There’s a good chance that I’ve never mastered apres-hangover functioning; it just wasn’t as important back then to get to “the page” the next day. I’m no Hemingway or Bukowski, doing their best work between whiskey burps. I’m painfully unwriterly.
The new, added twist to this conundrum is jet lag. Whereas before I could go on an all-night bender, get on a plane, sleep 20 minutes and be delightful and fully engaging upon my arrival, now I can’t shake zombieville for a whole week. I’m crabby, mumbly and saying things like “whadoyouwantIwantwataohwhatever” when I get off the plane. By 5 p.m. I’m yawning, by 8 p.m. I’m unconscious, and four days later I’m still turning down dinner invitations to “rest.”
What has happened to me?
Sleep is aging me. And I’m not talking about not getting sleep; I’m talking about talking about sleep. Sleep is the new (or the old? or the old people’s?) weather. A topic of conversation for anyone who lacks something mildly interesting to say.